Twenty views of the West

  • The Best Stories of the American West, Volume 1

    TOR BOOKS
 

Best Stories of the American West is a collection of Western stories in which gunfights are outnumbered by basketballs, and the cowboy hats end up mangled beyond recognition. In other words, it's not about the West as exemplified by John Wayne; it's about a place in which people actually live. 

In compiling this first volume, series editor Marc Jaffe did something refreshing: He refused to define the West. His only requirement was that the stories take place in one of the 11 states in the region. Beyond that, anything goes. The result is 20 stories from 20 very different writers, some of them well-known (such as Sherman Alexie and William Kittredge), and others less so (like John Rember). The plots range from the scheming of Wyatt Earp to the secrets of flying an airplane in the Sawtooth Mountains. There are cowboys here, sure, but also bush pilots and fishermen, teachers and poorly trained paramedics, aged actors and 40-year-old basketball players. 

Taken together, this hodgepodge of characters reminds us of just how diverse this region is. We meet people like Roy and Jacinto: Jacinto, a Filipino migrant worker toiling in California amid a sea of tomato plants, struggles to eke out enough money to go back home, while Roy, a rough-and-tumble Southwestern cowboy caught between tradition and change, finds himself glancing constantly over his shoulder at the encroachments of city life. These two characters represent two classic ways of seeing the West: Roy, the Gifford Pinchot ideal of land use and resource extraction; Jacinto, Ronald Takaki's view of an empire built largely on the exploitation of immigrants. Entire political programs could be constructed around these two figures, but in this volume they are simply people. They work. They struggle with loss. In terms of their humanity, they are equals. 

Time after time, this collection reminds us that there is no easy way to live in the West. "They beat on you one way or the other," says Casey Mullins, an old man in a Hollywood nursing home who claims he was once the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. "The pride comes in how you stand up to it." 

The Best Stories of the American West, Volume 1

Edited by Marc Jaffe

316 pages, hardcover: $25.95

Tor Books, 2007.

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    North Cascades Institute seeks their next Executive Director to lead the organization, manage $4 million operating budget, and oversee 60 staff. Send resume/cover letter to...
  • DISTRICT MANAGER
    The San Juan Islands Conservation District is seeking applicants for the District Manager position. The position is open until filled and application plus cover letter...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Time Arts, a Bozeman-based nonprofit, is seeking an Executive Director. MTA advocates for and produces public artworks that advance social & environmental justice in...
  • BEND AREA HOME WITH AMAZING CASCADE PEAKS VIEW
    Enjoy rural peacefulness and privacy with one of the most magnificent Cascade Mountain views in sunny Central Oregon! Convenient location only eight miles from Bend's...
  • MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Marketing Communications Manager to join our...
  • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks an Editor-In-Chief to join our senior team...
  • RESEARCH FELLOW (SOUTHWESTERN U.S. ENERGY TRANSITION)
    The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in partnership with the Grand Canyon Trust is seeking a full-time Fellow to conduct topical research...
  • LENDER OWNED FIX & FLIP
    2 houses on 37+ acres. Gated subdivision, Penrose Colorado. $400k. Possible lender financing. Bob Kunkler Brokers Welcome.
  • ONCE OR TWICE
    A short historical novel set in central Oregon based on the the WWII Japanese high altitude ballon that exploded causing civilian casualties. A riveting look...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • HOUSE FOR SALE
    Rare mountain property, borders National Forest, stream nearby. Pumicecrete, solar net metering, radiant heat, fine cabinets, attic space to expand, patio, garden, wildlife, insulated garage,...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER- NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
    Want to organize people to protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life with Northern Plains Resource Council? Apply now-...
  • CONSERVATION MANAGER
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is hiring an energetic and motivated Conservation Manager to develop and complete new conservation projects and work within...
  • POLLINATOR OASIS
    Seeking an experienced, hardworking partner to help restore a desert watershed/wetland while also creating a pollinator oasis at the mouth of an upland canyon. Compensation:...
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.